Apple, Amazon deny report that Chinese spy chips infiltrated their hardware | Cyber Security

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Apple says its “deeply disappointed” in Bloomberg.

Zhang Peng

Apple and Amazon reportedly have denied assertions that their data center equipment had Chinese surveillance microchips inserted during the manufacturing process.

The spy chips were used to gathering intellectual property and trade secrets from Apple and from Amazon Web Services, an Amazon subsidiary that provides cloud computing services, Bloomberg Businessweek reported on Thursday. They were found in servers assembled by a Chinese company called Super Micro, and could’ve been subject to a secret US government investigation that began in 2015.

Apple, AWS, Super Micro and China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs have disputed the report, which cites anonymous government and corporate sources, as previously noted by CNBC. Each of their denials was reported by Bloomberg.

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“We are deeply disappointed that in their dealings with us, Bloomberg’s reporters have not been open to the possibility that they or their sources might be wrong or misinformed. Our best guess is that they are confusing their story with a previously reported 2016 incident in which we discovered an infected driver on a single Super Micro server in one of our labs. That one-time event was determined to be accidental and not a targeted attack against Apple,” the company wrote.

Apple said that it takes the allegations seriously and that there was no claim of customer data being affected.

Amazon, meanwhile, “found no evidence to support claims of malicious chips or hardware modifications,” the company said.

Super Micro noted that it wasn’t aware of “any investigation regarding this topic nor have we been contacted by any government agency in this regard.”

China responded by saying it’s “a resolute defender of cybersecurity.”

“We hope parties make less gratuitous accusations and suspicions but conduct more constructive talk and collaboration so that we can work together in building a peaceful, safe, open, cooperative and orderly cyberspace,” it wrote.

Neither AWS, Super Micro nor the Chinese foreign ministry immediately responded to requests for further comment.

Concerns over surveillance have impacted China’s bid to become a global telecommunications powerhouse, with the Australian government in August effectively blocking Chinese carriers from building its 5G network. Earlier this year, President Trump proposed a nationalized 5G network in the US that would be free of overseas interference.

On Wednesday, Chinese telecom giant and phone maker ZTE was found guilty of violating a US probation.

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